Ciaran Russell

It’s January and that can only mean one thing. New Year New You. But instead of finding that the ‘new you’ has disappeared by the time the 1st February has arrived, I am going to tell you how to create some lasting change in your health and fitness for 2022. The first step is to decide what it is you’re looking to achieve. Imagine we are having a chat over a cup of coffee on 31st December 2022, what has to have happened for you to be happy with your progress? This could be ideal time to write down exactly what your health looks like in 12 months’ time. Now that you know where you want to get to, the next step is assessing where you’re currently at. Naturally this will be different for everyone so here are some things to think about. Look at what your current diet is like; do you eat fruit and vegetables every day? Do you have a takeaway more than once a week? What is your alcohol consumption like? Then assess what you’re physical activity is like. Do you have some sort of exercise regime? That could be playing a sport, going to a gym, walking regularly with friends; anything that keeps you active every day. When you now where both your current diet and exercise are at you can then start to look at what’s in the gap between where you are now to where you want to be at the end of the year. This is where you start to create the process required to get you there, more specifically what do you need to do monthly, weekly and daily in order to reach your end of year goals. This is where regularly checking in with yourself to review your progress is important. This can be done weekly, monthly and quarterly. Some questions to ask before you start; how will you know you are on track in 3 months’ time? What needs to happen for you to have gotten closer to your goals at the end of the month? How will you know you’re on track come the end of this week? And lastly what can you do daily to push yourself forward? Not only is it very useful to create the plan and know what progress you’re making along the way, it’s also important to know what obstacles you may face along the way. Sure you won’t be able to account for every little problem that comes up but by starting to think about what might get in your way, you can actively create a plan to overcome any barriers you may face. Once you’ve taken time to create your strategy for a healthier and fitter you, the next step is to take action and get started. A strategy means nothing if you don’t execute it. What can you do today that will take you a step in the right direction? I want to wish you a happier, healthier and fitter New Year. Thanks for reading. Ciaran.

Fingal County Council is urging developers to give them the opportunity to buy new turn-key homes in advance to help ease the housing crisis and deliver affordable housing for those most in need. The Council wants to be able to tap into the large number of unbuilt properties which have received planning permission It has ambitions to secure at least 10 residences at any one scheme, with it hoping that anything up to 150 dwellings could be sold to them in an advance purchase arrangement with developers. Under the proposal, Fingal would agree to purchase an approved number of properties at a development and provide payment on completion. Such an agreement also provides for the direct sale of homes by a developer to an eligible purchaser nominated by the local authority. Liam Burke, Acting Director of Housing and Community Development at Fingal County Council said: “The Housing for All initiative sets out some very clear ambitions around social and affordable housing provision. Having the new Affordable Housing Fund in place will go some way to making it possible for Fingal to deliver a greater number of homes for people at below market rates, so in securing an advance purchase arrangement with developers we not only ensure that we are providing much needed housing, but that we are also giving financial surety to developers and taking out some of the guess work that often goes along with larger developments.” The council said that Joint Venture Arrangements that include an Approved Housing Body (AHB) would also be considered as part of the initiative. Under the ‘Housing for All’ plan, significant funding streams are available to Fingal in order for it to increase the number of new-build local authority homes for social and affordable housing.The government wants to see 300,000 homes built over the next decade across the four categories of social, affordable and cost rental, private rental and private ownership. On average, over 33,000 homes will be built per annum, rising to 40,000 by 2030.Further details of the turnkey programme and local requirements for Fingal are available at:.fingal.ie/sites/default/files/2021-11/guide-to-making-a-submission-november-2021.pdf

By Siobhan O’Neill White

If we thought 2020 was tough, in many ways, 2021 was even harder. We’ve all been on a rollercoaster of emotion; worrying about catching Covid, for many people trying to get through Covid and on top of that, the stress of multiple lockdowns. It has been an extraordinarily difficult time so this January, go easy on yourself. Many of us, me included, have put on a few extra pounds since Covid barged into our lives and caused all sorts of disruption. With the levels of worry and fear we have experienced, putting on a few lbs is really not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. As January rolls around, lots of us may start thinking about getting fitter and losing weight but this year, we are suggesting that you be kind to yourself. If you want to cut back on the sweet treats a little, that’s ok. If you want to do add extra exercise into your life, go right ahead. But please remember, that we are all going through an incredibly tough time and we need to mind ourselves. Our mental health is as important as our physical health and it’s important to make the time to do nice things for yourself. Whether that’s going for a long walk, relaxing for half an hour with a coffee and magazine or taking a relaxing bubble bath – do what helps you relax and unwind.And as we are staying at home more than usual, make time for nice activities, like baking with the kids or cooking a nice dinner. Maybe have a pajama day with movies and hot chocolate or bring our some board games for a bit of fun family time.Whatever you get up to this January, remember, be kind to yourself and your loved ones. We’ve got to pull together and support each other as much as possible to get through these strange, unsettling times. For indoor and outdoor activity ideas and lots of recipes, check out mams.ie parenting website.

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By Dave Kavanagh

Recent surveys by the Royal London Group, have clearly illustrated the advantages in seeking fi-nancial advice. In Ireland, it showed that of those that received advice, savings were 55% higher, the average pension pot was €128,933 compared to €62,600 with those who had not sought advice. The vast majority felt more in control of their finances and felt they were getting the best value with the financial products that they paid for. In these times, Covid-19 has made people more anxious about money. So what stops people from seeking advice in such a crucial area of their lives? Some answers were, “I think it would be too expensive”, “it’s probably not for me” (believing it’s only very wealthy people that need advice!), “my bank looks after all of that” (when the bank is likely tied to one company and cannot fairly compare options for them.) Or “too proud or embar-rassed to let someone go through our finances”. In some ways, this can be likened to some people choosing not to seek medical advice (until potentially too late!) believing that it’s trivial or they can deal with it themselves. The one constant I’ve seen in all my years of advising clients, is the peace of mind and feeling of control that they feel. Even if the exercise of examining and analysing their finances uncovers some mistakes or wrong choices, at least they can now take action to rectify their situation, and move forward with confidence. If, like many, you are considering making New Year changes to improve your life in some way, you could do far worse than include a review of that which is connected to almost every aspect of your life, your finances.

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing info@financialcompanion.ie or use the contact form on www.financialcompanion.ie or phone 087-6414570, or @Davekav_advice on Twitter and Instagram. Combined with his previous role of gym/nutrition adviser, he regularly gives talks and workshops at seminars and events for groups, companies and government departments on financial wellbeing, positivity and motivation. As heard on RTE 2FM and TV3.

Ciaran Russell

What is sleep? Sleep is a recurring state of relaxation that is characterized by an altered state of consciousness, inhibited sensory activity, muscular inhibition, and severely reduced interaction with outside entities. This state alternates between REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, during which dreams occur, and non-REM sleep. While in REM sleep the mind dreams and the body experiences a state of near paralysis that keeps a person from physically acting on dream stimulus (this is called sleep paralysis). Sleep itself is a state in which the body builds up and restores the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems. Source: alleydog.com.Sleep plays a very important role in many aspects of daily life. Without it we become irritable, have an increased appetite, higher stress levels, are susceptible to illness and much more. All of which, over time, can have a major impact on physical health, mental health and relationships. The benefits are widely known and very well studied over many years, but here are some practical tips to help improve the quality of your sleep.Firstly reduce your screen usage for at least an hour before going to bed. The screens we so regularly use; phones, tablets, laptops, tv’s all emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin production in the brain. Melatonin is the hormone partly responsible for maintaining the sleep/wake cycle.The next practical tip is to leave your phone outside your bedroom. .It is well reported that people should be sleeping between 7-9 hours per night. However it’s just as important that sleep and wake times are consistent across the whole week, including the weekend. Caffeine is a mainstay in most people’s morning ritual but too much caffeine later in the day can have a big impact on the quality of sleep.This tip follows on from number one, find yourself a night time routine.The last tip is; upon waking in the morning time, get as much light as possible. This is also linked back to the sleep/wake cycle mentioned earlier. Ideally you go outside to get some natural light but that is very hard during the winter months. The next best thing would be to turn on all the lights in the house to get as much light as you can until early afternoon.Improve your sleep, improve your health.If you’re interested in learning more about sleep, I highly recommend the book; Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.I will be running a FREE Active Start Challenge in January. To join the waiting list, scan the QR code in the image.

by Siobhan O Neill White

Tis the season to be jolly…..but after the last 22 months we can be forgiven if we’re not quite so jolly this year. Many of us are hesitant about socialising too much so we’ve to come up with some ideas for fun things to do at home!Board games may sound old fashioned but once you gather around and pull out a game, it can be great fun. We love the usual games like Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly but this year, we’ve added some new ones from cool Irish company Neverboard.ie They have adult games, kids games and ones for teens. We’ve been having good craic with Cards Against Humanity and Ticket To Ride.Baking is a fantastic way to spend a winter afternoon with kids. We got a cake mixer from Nisbets at the Ilac Shopping Centre and it’s been such a good investment Baking is an activity our children always want to get involved with and the results are deliciously rewarding! As for cooking, a good casserole dish and quality cookware are just the motivation needed to try new recipes. Each week a member of our family takes a turn to pick a recipe from our cookbooks. As we are home more often nowadays, finding new recipes to cook has kept dinner time interesting! No doubt there will be some rainy days over Christmas break so now is a good time to pick up some crafty materials. The Works is a brilliant shop for art supplies, craft sets, puzzle books and games. I picked up a word search puzzle book for our 10 year old and she has been getting great mileage out of it. It was under a fiver too, so great value and lots of quiet time for her (and us!) There is something nice about having a pajama day, throw in some hot chocolate and a movie and everyone is happy. Bronagh chocolates from Co Kerry make yummy stir in hot chocolate sticks. They even come with marshmallows on the sticks! Yummy and easy to make.Most of all, whatever you do and wherever you go, please take care and be safe. For competitions activity ideas and recipes, go to mams.ie free parenting website. Happy Christmas, Siobhán.

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By Dave Kavanagh

Although it may be too late for some people, there are a few things that can be done to make the festive season less of a financial burden. Manage expectations: Most people can’t remember what they got 2 years ago, so don’t put yourself under too much pressure for “big” presents. Leave the credit card at home: At about 20% interest, adding debt for things you don’t need to overspend on, only starts the new year off in a negative. Be realistic with food shopping: The shops are only closed for 1-2 days, do you really need so much? In the days/weeks after Christmas, make a list of all the things you bought but didn’t really need or through out, and keep it for next year. Kris Kindle: Talk to family and close friends to agree to pick one person and buy them a present for a set limit, to ease the burden.Other things you can do all year round that can save you enough to cover the cost of Christmas: Switch utility providers, the savings can be quite substantial. Compare before you shop for larger items: Just because one store has a sign saying the fridge you want is reduced from €900 to €800, doesn’t mean that another store that does not have a sale on, isn’t selling the same fridge for €750. Take the time to shop around when your car or house insurance renewals come in, it can be well worth the effort. Review premiums that you pay regularly, such as mortgage protection or life cover, especially if they were taken out directly with a bank who could not compare. Finally, go through a few months’ bank statements: we regularly find people paying for things that should have been cancelled years before.

Dave Kavanagh QFA has been advising people financially for over 25 years. For quotes or information (with no cost or obligation) he can be contacted by emailing info@financialcompanion.ie or use the contact form on www.financialcompanion.ie or phone 087-6414570, or @Davekav_advice on Twitter and Instagram. Combined with his previous role of gym/nutrition adviser, he regularly gives talks and workshops at seminars and events for groups, companies and government departments on financial wellbeing, positivity and motivation. As heard on RTE 2FM and TV3.

According to Fingal Co. Co. planning guidelines, Councils can advise residents and developers of requirements for naming and numbering housing estates and approve the final proposals. The naming of mixed residential and mixed-use schemes should reflect local history, folklore and/or place names in accordance with Objectives of the Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023. Names can refer to historical buildings or structures, archaeological monuments or features, the local landscape, or an association with a significant local historical individual, custom or event. Local historical societies or Fingal Libraries may be able to offer advice. In particular, the use and promotion of historical and current townland and parish names in the urban and rural environment should be promoted. Here are the origins of some of Malahide’s residential estates.

The Bawn - stems from an Irish word to describe a protective enclosure for cattle often associated with a castle.- Gaybrook - built adjacent to the Gaybrook Stream formed by the confluence of steams flowing down from Feltrim and Drynam.- Killeen - after John Killeen, the railway engineer, who built Killeen Terrace opposite St. Sylvester’s Church as a potential dowry for his daughter. Milford - many hundreds of years ago where the nearby Gaybrook Stream enters the Broadmeadows Estuary there stood a ford and a cornmill worked by the ebb and flow of the tide. Later in 1782 a cotton mill was erected nearby. - Muldowney - a corruption of Maoil Domhnainn, an ancient name for a topographical feature in that part of the inlet, in turn named after an ancient people the Fir Domhnainn. -Texas Lane – believed to be named for a cobbler who once lived in the area who had a habit of holding a supply of tacks in his mouth as he used them to mend boots and so was nicknamed ‘Tacks’. It followed that the lane where he lived was known as Tacks’s Lane which eventually became Texas Lane. - Yellow Walls - the name predates the cotton industry established in this area in 1782 but is probably derived from earlier times when linen was woven from flax fibres and hung on local walls to bleach, staining the stone in the process.

By Ciaran Russell

Movember is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. “Men’s health is in crisis. Men are dying on average 5 years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons. A growing number of men – around 10.8M globally – are facing life with a prostate cancer diagnosis. Globally, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men. And across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 75% of all suicides”. Source: movember.com/about/cause Generally men will brush things off as unimportant and not speak up about things that may be bothering them; be that physically or mentally. As part of the Movember movement I want to help change that narrative to help bring more men together to support each other through whatever issues they may be facing.Health and fitness plays a massive part in how you feel. By improving health markers and being more active, the health of not just men, but everyone, can be significantly enhanced. We live our lives mostly in comfort, trying to avoid the hard things. That may be losing some weight, trying to get fit, speaking on a stage or starting something new, all of which can make us uncomfortable. Usually when we experience discomfort we tend to give up on making that change and we stay rooted to the past instead of leaning in to the potential growth that may come as a result of that hardship.Use the month of November to take charge of your health and fitness in the pursuit to becoming a better person for yourself and other people in your life. Do you want your life to be an example or a warning to others? You can support the Movember cause by logging on to their website movember.com

By Siobhan O’Neill White

Christmas is-a-coming and after last year’s disaster, it’s ok to get extra excited this year! We have been scouring the shops for ideas to help you get ‘Christmas ready’ First up, nights out! For underwear Patricia O’Toole’s Slynx slips are perfect to slim silhouettes. Jazz up your look with Nicky Hoyne sparkly Glitter Petrol boots! Limerick based and online clothing store Virgo Boutique have fantastic casual and glam wear, for days in and nights ‘Out-Out’ SoSu by Suzanne Jackson have stunning make-up and tanning gift sets. Irish brand Biofresh Skincare have beautiful skincare sets; their Rose scented products smell incredible. Carter Beauty, another Irish brand, has gorgeous and affordable Christmassey make-up gift sets and face masks. Fancy some bling? Irish jewellery brand, Absolute Jewellery have beautiful styles to choose from. The green jewelled pieces are perfect for Christmas. Stunning! The new Babyliss Cordless hair straightener is a clever haircare gift. For the guys, Babyliss have cool men’s grooming sets Need gift inspiration for sports enthusiasts? Irish brand DS Sports has affordable GAA clothing and accessories and new this year, electric scooters! For lunch & dinner inspiration Gourmet Food Parlours have delicious menus for pre-Christmas get-togethers and fab hampers and gift cards for gifting. We love personalised gifts and Donegal based Noted Ireland make gorgeous gifts. We especially adore their baking sets. I’d love that personalised apron for myself. Crafty business DBCiara makes the cutest, personalised decorations and handmade cards. Lovely for someone special! It’s so important to support local businesses and All Ireland Foods is a fierce supporter of Irish produce. We love their ‘Cork Rebel’ ‘Chocolate Lovers’ and ‘Honey Hampers’ – quirky yet quintessentially Irish! A lovely treat is a hotel or spa trip. Four Seasons Hotel Carlingford and Luxe spa vouchers are valid for 5 years and are an ideal gift for stressed, overworked Mammies! (Hint Hint!) Silly Goose coffee was started by a stay-at-home Dad who understands the need for coffee with a new baby! Their CBD coffee is an unusual and cool gift for coffee lovers! With Covid restrictions, visiting Santa is tricky so Santas Snowglobe is a brilliant option. Receive a special ‘parcel’ in the post, get in Pj’s and enjoy hot chocolate and gingerbread while chatting with Santa, via a personal zoom. We adored this last year, it’s wonderful! For more gift ideas and competitions, go to mams.ie

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